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Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) — The obesity rate among 2- to 5-year- olds dropped by almost half in the U.S. over the past decade, according to a report that suggests a new wave of Americans may be able to avoid the heart disease and diabetes risks linked to being severely overweight.

Obesity among young children fell to 8.1 percent in 2011 to 2012, from 14 percent in 2003-2004, a the study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. The results, by researchers at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, expands on information initially reported by the federal agency in October.

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